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MailTribune.com
  • Central Point plans to hand municipal court duties to county

  • Non-criminal citations like traffic violations and minors in possession of tobacco in Central Point likely will be handled by Jackson County's Justice Court starting in July.
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  • Non-criminal citations like traffic violations and minors in possession of tobacco in Central Point likely will be handled by Jackson County's Justice Court starting in July.
    An intergovernmental agreement between the two entities goes before the county's Board of Commissioners at the next public meeting at 9:30 a.m. June 19 in the Jackson County Courthouse Auditorium. If approved, the estimated $100,000 in annual revenues garnered from such citations would be split 50-50 between Jackson County and Central Point.
    "To consolidate these, it seems to make perfect sense," said Central Point City Manager Chris Clayton, adding he believes the savings will be $30,000 annually to start. "It's substantial savings for the city."
    Those savings will go up, Clayton said, as Central Point's court clerk plans to retire. Felony and misdemeanor crimes would continue to be handled by Jackson County Circuit Court.
    Clayton said the proposed agreement stems from changes at Central Point's Municipal Court. City officials hoped to move sessions, typically held during the evening hours, to the daytime as a cost-saving measure. It didn't work out, as Judge James Mueller, also an attorney, had other obligations during the day, Clayton said.
    While the city sought a new judge, Judge Joe Charter of the county's Justice Court contacted Clayton.
    Charter believes the agreement makes sense, too. He said the city's municipal court and the Justice Court building are within a few blocks of each other.
    "I think there was a thought, why have two courts two blocks away from each other doing the same things at the same time?" Charter said. "We will be busier, but we think we can handle it."
    — Ryan Pfeil
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